Reading comprehension is an important aspect of reading mastery. If a child does not comprehend what they read or if they only understand the basics from text, they may later have difficulty in reading to learn.
Comprehension is essential across subjects. When a child struggles with reading comprehension, parents might not know the best resources to use to guide them to mastery. Reading apps could help children who struggle with comprehension. Using apps to help reading comprehension can be beneficial, but what apps are the best?
The best apps to help reading comprehension include:
- Audio Book Apps
- Tutoring Apps
How Parents Can Use eReaders to Guide Comprehension
An e-reader is typically pre-installed on devices like smartphones or tablets. Apple and Android both offer their own reading apps. When users click on the app, they enter a virtual bookstore. Parents can download books for their child to read, and some titles are even free.
Once books are purchased, they will appear on the bookshelf of the app. Ebooks don’t require scrolling. Instead, these virtual books are designed to look like the real bound book. Children can use their fingertips to flip pages; they also will see the illustrations as they appear in traditional books. However, some ebooks might have their own unique illustrations.
While ebooks don’t provide reading instruction, parents can use these resources to help guide their child’s reading journey. Some children gravitate to technology and could be more interested in screens than bound books.
Children might find ebooks to be unique and more exciting to read. Parents can use e readers as a virtual tool. While reading an ebook, parents should ask children questions about what they are reading. If parents are reading the story with children, they can talk about the book as they read.
Help children think about the story by asking them what they think will happen next. If parents are concerned that these ‘virtual books’ might hamper comprehension, they shouldn’t worry. In fact, Smithsonian Magazine published a story that explained that comprehension doesn’t differ from paper to screen.
As bound books can help children with reading, so, too, can ereaders. Again, though, these apps should be used as a resource by parents. Like bound books, ebooks don’t include instruction or enrichment about comprehension. Instead, parents will need to work with children as they read the book on the screen.
The benefit of an ereader, though, might be its appeal to children who love technology and love devices. This can transform reading into a virtual adventure.
Comprehension Learning Apps
Whether parents own an Apple or Android device, they will have access to a store that lets them download apps. For Apple, this is the App Store. Android uses Google Play.
Each store offers different reading apps. In fact, searching for just ‘reading apps’ might overwhelm parents. Instead, parents who need app resources for children who are struggling with comprehension can search for ‘reading comprehension apps.’
This search query will help parents find the best app options for their child. While the list might still be extensive, parents can begin to whittle down their best options. Look for apps that are designed for the child’s age and reading level.
Some popular reading comprehension apps can focus on skills like inferencing. This is an abstract concept that requires children to ‘read between the lines’ to decipher meaning. Many apps have been developed to help children who struggle with this skill.
While many apps are free, some require a purchase price. Free apps also could include in-app purchases, and parents who don’t want to contend with any surprise charges might opt to disable this option.
Are free apps less effective? The most effective app for any child is the app that best provides the help they need for their struggles. Free apps allow parents a bit more exploratory freedom, however. Parents could download multiple free apps and let their child explore each option.
Before purchasing an app, parents might read the reviews to learn more about the app and what it offers. Most apps also could have a website from their developer. In addition, the developer’s website might offer more info about individual apps.
Audio Book Apps
Listening to a story could help children better understand character emotions and hear the action of a story. When a book is read aloud, the narrator typically provides auditory cues related to emotions, actions or even to emphasize a word as necessary.
When reading a book silently, children might not pick up on these subtleties. Parents can download audio book apps and let their child listen to a story as they follow along.
Many children like having a book read aloud, and the auditory component also could help children who are auditory learners. In addition, audio books can help a child imagine the story as they listen. These books are simply yet another resource to help guide a child and help them gain mastery.
Parents also could download the app for their local library, which also might offer both audiobooks and ebooks, too!
Reading Tutoring Apps
Tutoring apps are designed to improve a child’s reading fluency, reading comprehension or both. Reading tutoring apps provide extra help and enrichment for children who might be lagging behind grade-level reading benchmarks.
Reading tutoring apps, though, can be used by any child, regardless of whether or not they are struggling. Parents can find many different apps that offer their own unique design. These apps typically require a subscription, and prices may vary.
Parents should research the best reading app that addresses their child’s reading needs. However, parents also will want the program that fits their budget, too.
Reading programs and apps should provide engaging content for children of all ages. Ideally, programs should offer high-low books or stories. These are books that are written for both age interest and reading level. They are called high-low books as they are aimed for older children who are reading below grade level (or at a lower reading level).
The best reading tutoring app also should include:
- Exploratory features
- Colorful illustrations
- Auditory feedback when children need help
- A portal for parents to check progress
Readability offers engaging stories that feature colorful illustrations to help children better comprehend the action of the story. Text also isn’t overwhelming; stories are chunked in easy-to-digest paragraphs.
Readability includes a built-in AI tutor that is designed to recognize each child’s voice. Children read stories aloud in Readability, and, if a child stumbles on a word, the tutor will provide help. The tutor also asks children questions at the end of each story to gauge their level of understanding.
Every story in Readability also includes a list of key vocabulary words. However, children can tap any word in a story to hear the definition and also hear it used in a sentence. Each discovered word is added to the child’s own word bank.
For parents, Readability provides a special data portal called the Progress Dashboard. This provides the child’s reading data, including reading fluency (measured in words read per minute), reading comprehension, the amount of time the child used the program and more. This reading data also can be compiled into a report that can be emailed to the child’s teacher.
Trying out a reading app or program is often the best way to discover if it’s a good fit for a child. Interested in trying out Readability? Parents can sign up for a free seven day trial period to explore the program and all its features with their child.